Sen. Marco Rubio is scrambling to project strength in the Republican presidential primary, doing interviews on Fox News and the Today show and jetting off to South Carolina after coming in fifth in New Hampshire.
“We’re going to be the nominee,” he said confidently on the Today Show. “It is just going to take a little longer, but we are going to get there.”
With 92 percent of the vote tallied in New Hampshire, Rubio is 1,484 votes behind his political mentor Jeb Bush, who earned fourth place.
On Fox and Friends, Rubio blamed the media for creating the narrative that something bad had happened to his campaign, and for discouraging voters.
Well, what happened is obviously Saturday night, the debate went the way it went and then the media coverage over the last 72 hours was very negative about it and so forth. So the last thing that voters heard before going into the booth or yesterday was, you know, something bad happened on Saturday night. So it made it very difficult for us to get any other message across.
Rubio spun his finish as only a difference of a “couple thousand votes” which is why his campaign was so disappointed.
“So that’s on me,” he said, referring to his debate performance. “That ain’t ever going to happen again.”
Rubio said he was on his way to South Carolina, where he hopes to get his campaign back on track.
“We’re going to win this campaign. We’re going to win this primary,” he said. “It’s important for the country and I’m fired up about that.”
He ignored the criticism that he was too scripted or didn’t have enough depth, calling it “absurd.”
“I answered every single one of those questions with as much or more depth than anyone else in the race,” he said.
Referring to Donald Trump, Marco Rubio suggested that he had successfully tapped into the anger in New Hampshire about diminishing jobs and manufacturing in the state.
“Donald Trump is not going to be the Republican nominee … ultimately to be president you can’t just go around telling people what’s wrong, you have to tell people how you’re going to fix it.”